Arts & Culture

KCUR’s Arts & Culture Desk covers arts news from music to visual art to dance and theater, with a focus on Kansas and Missouri.

Our reporters explore the behind-the-scene stories about newsmakers and emerging artists. We also take a look at the intersections of arts and technology, science and creativity, and present profiles of creative people. 

Robert Wright / Wikimedia Commons

Has a piece of art ever left you scratching your head? Today, we find out what goes through the mind of postmodern master David Salle when he's perusing a painting or sculpture. Here's a hint: He's focused more on his feelings about the art, than about what the art is trying to accomplish.

Fally Afani

If you went out in the late 1990s and early 2000s, you probably heard Matt Pryor in venues around town.

He was the lead singer of the indie pop-punk band, The Get Up Kids, and he was also the front man for its spin-off, The New Amsterdams.

Now, the Lawrence-based musician is making solo records, and his new album, Memento Mori, takes a different turn.

Maybe you're a new parent who's seeking some advice as you're feeding your baby in the middle of the night. Or perhaps you're looking to connect with others who share your political view. A look at the role — both positive and negative — of online communities and how they impact our lives.

Guests:

Three musicians discuss the influence of protest music — the theme of this weekend's annual Folk Alliance International conference in KC.

Guests:

Suzanne Hogan / KCUR 89.3

A few thousand folk musicians from around the world are preparing to gather at the Westin Hotel in Crown Center for the 29th annual Folk Alliance International Conference. Over the next five days they're going to make a lot of music, but they're also going to make a lot of paper flyers and garbage. But hopefully not as much as previous years.

Courtesy National Orphan Train Complex

There’s only one train line left in Concordia, Kansas (population just over 5,000), and it hauls grain. But more than a hundred years ago there were four train lines. Some of them were passenger trains, and in the 1880s, one carried a group of unaccompanied children from New York.

It stopped in nearby Wayne, Kansas, where strangers were waiting to choose the children.

Courtesy of Des Moines Metro Opera

Most people are familiar with Dead Man Walking, the book and movie that's based on Sister Helen Prejean's interaction with a death row inmate. Well, there's also an opera that's inspired by her story.

We talk to some people from the Lyric Opera about their upcoming performance of this contemporary American work ... and the community outreach they've planned around it.

billsoPHOTO / Flickr -- CC

The Kansas City chapters of the NAACP and the SCLC are under new leadership. We sit down with the new presidents of these two organizations to hear their vision for the future of KC.

A recent New York Times article said: "Calling Peter Voulkos a ceramist is a bit like calling Jimi Hendrix a guitarist." We learn more about KC's rock star of clay.

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In the wake of President Donald Trump's inauguration, local artists weigh in on how they address politics with their work. In our latest Story of a Song, we hear how one Kansas City musician chose to address the current political climate with his song 'Revolution.'

Plus, how a special poetry contest came from Poland to Kansas. 

Guests:

Meanz Chan / Courtesy Front/Space

Art is a process that often takes place in quiet spaces, away from large crowds. But on Saturday night, Madeline Gallucci and Kendell Harbin say they plan to pull back the curtain on the creative impulse.

Co-directors of the Crossroads gallery Front/Space, Gallucci and Harbin invited 28 artists to draw, paint, print and collage original works for the four-hour live drawing fundraiser. As each work is completed, it goes on the gallery wall for immediate sale at $30.
 

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When he was 4 years old, Ed Dwight built an airplane out of orange crates from Safeway in the backyard of his house in Kansas City, Kansas.

But while growing up in a segregated Kansas City in the 1930s and 1940s, he never dreamed that he could be an airplane pilot.

And he certainly didn't think he'd be the first African-American to train as an astronaut for NASA.

But then, a local newspaper changed the course of his life.

David Jones / Flickr -- CC

Before you pack away your Chiefs gear: A look back at the history of the team and how they helped shape KC.

Plus, Question Quest discovers why people keep leaving little bird figurines around a statue in Brookside.

Guests:

  • Monroe Dodd, KCUR's resident historian
  • Joel Thorman, Editor, Arrowhead Pride

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art is a much-loved institution in Kansas City. What many Midwesterners may not know, though, is that the Nelson also has a world-renowned reputation among artists and scholars of Asian art. With more than 7,000 works spanning 5,000 years, the museum boasts one of the most celebrated collections of Asian art in the West.

When the St. Louis Art Museum announced that George Caleb Bingham’s “Verdict of the People” would be sent to Washington, D.C. for the inauguration of President-Elect Donald Trump, local artist Ilene Berman took to Facebook to express her displeasure. She had plenty of company.

Before the Jan. 20 presidential inauguration puts the election to rest, we ask, does Midwestern representation in national politics depend on the Electoral College?

Plus, Kansas City recently lost a long-time member of its culinary community: Jennifer Maloney. With her passing, we take a moment to consider the character of the chef.

Guests:

http://www.foxmovies.com/movies/hidden-figures

John F. Kennedy had a dream of sending a white man, a black man and an Asian to the moon. Ed Dwight, a KCK native, came close to being the black man on that mission.

Inspired by the upcoming film, Hidden Figures, we hear his story. Plus, a chat with a molecular biologist and our film critics.

Guests:

Christophe Testi

This story was updated with comments from ArtsKC. 

Bruce W. Davis has resigned as the president and chief executive officer of ArtsKC —Regional Arts Council after less than a year on the job. 

In a news release on Tuesday, ArtsKC board chair Brad Douglas announced that Davis's last day was Monday, January 2. 

Douglas told KCUR that Davis notified the board in December about his departure.

A portrait isn't just about capturing someone's literal likeness. It's about capturing the inner essence. So how is it done? And how is it done well? We host a roundtable discussion with Kansas City artists – from painter to doll-maker – to explore the ins and outs of portraiture in various mediums.

Guests: 

Paul Andrews / paulandrewsphotography.com

She's an acclaimed singer-songwriter who has been compared to Nina Simone and Roberta Flack. Rufus Wainwright has called her "one of the greatest living singers at the moment." From her home base in Paris, she tours the world . . . yet one of her favorite spots is still the Midtown porch of her 8th grade teacher.

In this encore presentation of Central Standard, meet Kansas City native Krystle Warren.

Guest:

Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR

When you picture a break-dancer, or "b-boy," you may envision a skinny kid who drops to the ground and pops back up like it's no big deal. But the hip-hop culture that gave rise to break-dancing isn't getting any younger.

Now, the original hip-hop generation is bringing kids to the club for events featuring crayons. In this encore presentation of Central Standard, we ask, how is the culture of hip-hop growing up with them? Plus, profiles of three icons in Kansas City's hip-hop scene. 

TEDxKC

For the second year running, Up To Date has invited presenters from TEDxKC to fill us in on their work.

Paul Andrews

In this encore presentation of Central Standard, local artist and pastor Dylan Mortimer discusses his art, his faith and his battle with cystic fibrosis, which he faced head on in his exhibit last January called "Cure."

Guest:

cdbaby.com

It's tradition that every year Up To Date brings you, the best music from the Kansas City area and around the world. But unlike holiday sweaters and fruitcake, our music experts have something everyone can enjoy.

This year's panelists are:

Courtesy of the artist and Tiwani Contemporary, London

When you think sexual revolution, you're probably thinking of the 1960s or 1970s, right? Well, it began much earlier than that. KU sociologist Brian Donovan's new book explores the implications of sex crime trials in the 1900s.

We also meet Canadian artist and Kenyan refugee Dawit L. Petros, whose photographs are currently on display at the H&R Block Artspace.

Photocapy / Flickr -- CC

What do ancient religious rituals mean to millennials? Across faiths, people are following the rituals of their parents and grandparents, but the meaning they attach to those practices may be changing.

Plus, a chat with the curator of an exhibit, ¿Qué Pasa, USA?, which features artists of color who are using humor to explore questions of race and belonging.

Guests:

Régine Debatty / Flickr -- CC

Even though he was born in the United States, artist Roger Shimomura still gets asked where he’s from. Or he’s told that he speaks English really well.

“The presumption is that if you’re Asian, you must be foreign to this country,” he told host Gina Kaufmann on KCUR’s Central Standard.

Poetry smut queen Patricia Lockwood recently spent some time in her childhood home in Lawrence, Kansas. She joins us to talk about her recent New Yorker article about technology and notebooks, and her new memoir, Priestdaddy.

Thomas Leuthard / Flickr-CC

Media critic Jay Rosen has been writing about evidence-based vs. accusation-driven journalism for years. Rosen joins us, along with a few local thinkers, in conversation about what's at stake for journalism, and what's next, as we head into a Trump presidency.

What are the books that you turn to when you need to connect with something bigger than yourself? KCUR's Bibliofiles recommend their own personal classics, their dog-eared favorites that they turn to frequently.

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